What Makes One T-Shirt Softer than Another? Greg has answered this question hundreds of times over the years, so I asked him to share some of his knowledge with you as a consumer.
What makes a T-shirt so soft: Everyone ask me about the softness of the tees we use and so I wanted to share information, you may find it boring or interesting, but hopefully you will learn something. When it is all said and done, even though the manufacturing process is quite detailed, including growing, picking and spinning the cotton, there are three major factors that make T-shirts soft:
- Actual knitting process itself and whether the yarn is spun on Ringspun machinery or Open End Machinery at the manufacture has a large impact on softness of your favorite tee shirt. The Open End process is less expensive and uses a “back and forth” technique that is very efficient. The Ringspun process is more time consuming and uses a technique that spins in loops and allows the yarn to be more “lofty;” it spins the yarn on better machinery, making it much softer to the hand.
- Size of the yarn – most people believe the heavier the shirt, the better quality it is, and in most cases this is false. T-shirts are like sheets, the higher the yarn count [stitches per inch] the better the fabric. A less expensive shirt [like a freebie you may have received] uses a fatter yarn while a better shirts uses a thinner yarn; more stitches per inch, making the shirts lighter, but meaning the actual fabric, end product, is much better. These higher yarn counts using a finer, better yarn achieve a much softer, lighter fabric.
- Fabric Content – believe it or not, blends tend to be softer because polyester is “silkier” than cotton. Cotton being a natural fiber has huge benefits (be on the look out for a future piece on this) but when you blend it with a lower percentage of Poly you create a shirt with properties taking the “best of both worlds.” The cotton still allows it to breathe and keep odors away. The poly adds softness, less shrinkage, less fading and better wear and tear over time.
Hopefully this gives you a few answers on why your favorite tee shirt is so soft and what makes one t-shirt softer than another!